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Researcher Needed

Posted on April 19, 2018: Dr. Teiya Kijimoto’s lab is looking for two highly motivated undergraduate students during summer 2018 (and potentially extended to following semesters). The lab studies:

1. the developmental, genetic, and physiological underpinnings of insect development.

2. the developmental and genetic underpinnings of insect development in the context of symbiosis.

3. the genetic, neuronal, and developmental underpinnings of insect acoustic communication.

All studies involve genetic techniques including isolation of genes from insects by using PCR, examining the function of genes by RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene knock down, morphological assessment of gene knock down. Some specific projects may involve pharmacological and physiological manipulation, metabolomic approaches, as well as histological analyses on insects. As we study non-model insects, students are expected to be involved in insect collection, handling, and care.

This research can be undertaken on a volunteer basis, for summer course credit (e.g., Honors 497 credit or 497 credit within student’s major), or as part of a WVU capstone project. This summer’s research experience is expected to lead to continued involvement in research into the 2018-2019 academic year via the previously mentioned course mechanisms or via a WVU research program (e.g., RAP or SURE).

Requirements:  No GPA cutoff, but a strong work ethic and some experience in the genetics lab techniques would be preferred. Biology and Biochemistry majors are especially encouraged to consider this opportunity.

Interested in the lab? Please contact Teiya Kijimoto ( ) to schedule a meeting.

Posted on February 22, 2018: Dr. James W. Lewis, Associate Professor, Dept Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience on WVU’s Health Sciences Center campus, is seeking one highly motivated undergraduate student during summer 2018 with a computer programming background, to help with finalizing a human neuroimaging project. The study involves analyzing electroencephalography (EEG) data, recorded from participants while they heard different categories of vocalizations. The goal of the study is to identify different low-level features of sound (acoustic signals) characteristic of human voice that our brains’ may have developed to quickly pick out—and thus process vocal sounds as a special category of natural sound. Responsibilities will include light programming, data analysis using existing MatLab-related software packages, EEG data collection, plus critical analysis, thinking, and interpretation of the results with other team members.

This research can be undertaken on a volunteer basis, for summer course credit (e.g., Honors 497 credit or 497 credit within student’s major), or as part of a WVU summer research program (e.g., SURE) to which the student would apply and potentially be accepted into.

Requirements:  Students with a solid background in computer scripting or programming (especially MatLab), and an interest in brains (‘zombies’ need not apply).

Contact Information: Please contact Dr. James Lewis at The opportunity will close once a qualified student has been found (by/before mid-March at the latest). For more information on Dr. Lewis’s research program, visit

Posted on August 28, 2017: Dr. Jianhai's Du Lab is looking for highly motivated undergraduates interested in biomedical research on biochemistry in neurodegenerative diseases. The Du lab integrates multidisciplinary approaches including mass spectrometry, stable isotope tracers, gene editing, animal models and stem cell technology to study the roles of metabolic regulation and dys-regulation in the heathy and diseased retinas.  Students will gain significant hands-on experience, including: polymerase chain reaction, Genotyping, sample preparation for mass spectrometry, data analysis for targeted metabolomics. Students will contribute to research in the form of research credits (497), poster presentations, scientific publications as a co-author, or a potential strong recommendation letter. Dr. Du has experience working with undergraduate research assistants when he was at University of Washington. Most of his previous undergraduates published at least one publication and successfully entered PhD or MD programs.

Requirements: Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.30.  Some lab research experience and familiarity with computer software is preferred.

Dr. Jianhai Du Lab Web page:
Contact information:  Dr. Jianhai Du (, Department of Ophthalmology, E214, WVU eye Institute.

Posted on May 24, 2017: Dr. Michele Carr, Otolaryngology, asks  "Are you interested in how patients experience health care?  Are you interested in child health? Do you want to find out what it’s like to work in a health care field?"

If so, we have opportunities for you to participate in related research in the Department of Otolaryngology at WVU.  

Projects involve interviews and surveys of patients and their caregivers as they go through the surgical experience.  Student responsibilities include understanding previous work in this area, administration of the tests to our participants, and data management. Opportunities to participate in statistical analysis, manuscript preparation and presentation at local and national meetings exist.  Some availability during typical work hours is necessary.

Student participants should be honest, presentable and personable, have a strong work ethic, and be motivated to succeed.

Please contact Dr. Michele Carr by email at for more information.

Posted on April 19, 2017: Dr. Melissa Patchan, Learning Sciences & Human Development, is seeking several students to work on a research project that examines the usefulness of peer feedback (e.g., feedback provided by students to help peers improve their writing). Students' primary responsibilities will involve sorting peer feedback comments based on certain features (i.e., coding). Training and regular meetings with Megan Mikesell and Dr. Patchan will also be required. Students will be expected to work a minimum of 10 hours per week. Although there is some flexibility in which hours/days students work, the majority of these hours must occur on Monday-Friday between 8am and 5pm. Multiple positions are available in the Summer and Fall semesters. See the attached flyer for more information and what information you need before contacting Dr. Patchan (

Posted on November 29, 2016: Dr. Craig Barrett is looking for highly motivated undergraduates interested in natural history to participate in laboratory research on the evolutionary genetics of plants. The Barrett lab focuses on using DNA sequences and other information to study how certain plant species are related, how they vary, and how their genomes have evolved. In particular, the lab’s focus is on leafless orchids that have evolved to become parasites on soil fungi (called mycoheterotrophs), and thus no longer use solar energy for photosynthesis. The lab also studies evolution of monocot angiosperms, including several economically and ecologically important species of grasses, palms, gingers, and relatives.

Students will gain significant hands-on experience, including: DNA and RNA extraction from plant tissues, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and data analysis.  Meanwhile, students will contribute to research in the form of poster presentations and potentially the writing of theses and scientific papers for publication.

Under the guidance of Dr. Barrett, students will develop independent projects and will enroll in Biol 386 for independent study (minimum 2 cr).  Students interested in completing an honors thesis are particularly encouraged to apply.

Requirements: Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.20.  Some lab research experience and familiarity with computer software is preferred.  Experience and/or interest in computer coding/scripting and bioinformatics are also preferred (for example: UNIX, R, Python, Perl).  Students should have a strong background in genetics, evolution, or ecology, and have a serious interest in plant evolutionary biology.

Dr. Barrett’s faculty web page: and slide.

Contact information:  Dr. Craig Barrett (, Department of Biology, 5218 Life Sciences Building.

Posted on November 4, 2016: Dr. George Spirou, Co-Director, Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, is seeking students for his Connectomics: 3D Mapping of Neural Circuits in the Mammalian Brain (HONR 297) class. The class can be taken for 1 or 2 credit hours (2 credit hours entails greater lab participation). In this class, students will explore and be a part of the new field of mapping neural circuitry in the brain, called connectomics. Students will work with unique electron microscopy image volumes, and learn to recognize cellular and subcellular structures as they segment neurons, glia and vascular networks in the images. These images offer many opportunities for students to design honors research projects, and in future semesters lead teams of other students to complete publishable projects. Along the way students will experience the wave of big data neuroscience, and learn the technologies that are shaping our modern understanding of brain structure through development and into maturity. Students will explore the structures they segment using 3D immersive virtual reality. Students in physical sciences, mathematics or engineering can identify projects to analyze the structures through classification, graph theoretical procedures and biophysical modeling, to name a few examples. Be amazed at how the brain constructs its initial wiring diagram following its genetic program, and how the connectome can change with learning and experience. We are seeking to enroll 100 students, whose combined work in a single semester will change our understanding of nervous system circuits and computation. You do not need to be an Honors student to enroll, but will need to speak with the course instructor prior to enrolling (an override, may be needed).

For insight into this new field, view the Ted Talk at:
Click here for a course flyer. Questions? Contact Dr. George Spirou (

Posted on October 14, 2016: Dr. Melissa Olfert, Human Nutrition & Foods, is seeking highly motivated undergraduate students to work on various multidisciplinary research projects. Students have the opportunity to work beside graduate students in the Lifestyle Intervention Research Lab (LIRL) gaining hand-on experience in behavioral intervention work. The LIRL specializes in the prevention of chronic diseases across the lifespan through lifestyle behavioral interventions to reduce incident rates of conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in at-risk populations, particularly those of health disparate regions. Our lab uses a wide variety of tools, including novel nutritional approaches, physical activity, sleep management, tobacco cessation and mindful stress reduction to study and modify multi-generational health behaviors.

Researcher responsibilities will vary depending on the project but often include data collection, data entry, social media presence, environmental audits, physical assessments on research subjects, literature reviews, and more. Work will be monitored by gradated students of the LIRL  who provide assistance and guidance in the research process.

Qualifications - Students from various majors are encouraged to apply (minimum GPA 2.5). Students are expected to commit to minimum of one semester, but highly prefer one year or longer.  Working hours and training schedule are flexible and will be determined depending on the projects and students’ schedules.

Contact Information – Please contact Dr. Melissa Olfert’s doctoral student Rebecca Hagedorn at to set up a meeting.